08/15/06 — Thanks, Britain: Its intelligence saved thousands

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Thanks, Britain: Its intelligence saved thousands

The sane world is indebted to British intelligence for averting another colossal terrorist episode that could have been the magnitude of 9/11.

Within what could have been days of detonating explosives aboard nine commercial airlines, British authorities swept down on a scattered band of Islamic fanatics in Great Britain.

They apparently had planned to slip innocent-looking bomb-making ingredients aboard the aircraft. The ingredients then would be combined in flight and detonated. The makings could have been disguised as soft drinks, medications and even toothpaste and baby food.

Suspects were seized and the highest level of alert was imposed on intercontinental flights from Britain to the United States.

How were the plans detected?

Thank goodness the New York Times and some other big-time elements of the press did not and hopefully do not know all the intricacies of British intelligence operations — or the terrorists might have managed to avoid detection.

But we do know that monitoring some telephone communications data and following the “money trail” were significant factors in identifying the terrorists and their plans.

These are intelligence methods our own counterterrorist agencies have been using and our national security authorities insist are vital to the success of their operations.

And they are methods which many in our media and in Congress have protested are unwarranted invasions of our rights of privacy.

Their protests should pale amid the specter of nine airlines loaded with innocent people being blown out of the skies by hate-motivated fanatics.

Published in Editorials on August 15, 2006 10:43 AM